Defeating Ransomware Attacks in the Public Sector

Airgap Networks
3 min readOct 26, 2020


Happening This Week: Security Panel on the 5th Annual at Cyber Future Summit 2020


Cyber Future Foundation Annual Summit
Title: Defeating Ransomware Attacks in the Public Sector
Date & Time: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT | 2:00 to 1:00pm CDT
Format: Moderator and panel discussion — TedTalk style

Most organizations will suffer at least one ransomware attack in any given year. The average attack results in over $730,000 costs, and the overall annual cost of ransomware attacks is anywhere from approximately $6B up to $170B.

The primary victims of this devastating cyber threat are public sector organizations. Hackers and bad actors are targeting schools, government and other public institutions and it’s proving to be problematic for the public sector due to the rise in third-party cloud channels, messaging apps, collaboration platforms, social media tools, etc.

Over the past 18 months, cybercriminals — primarily based in Russia and Eastern Europe — have hit the American public sector with more ransomware attacks than in any other period on record, according to Emsisoft, which tracks the incursions. A record 966 ransomware attacks hit the American public sector last year — two-thirds of them targeting state or local governments.


· Clark County School District in Las Vegas

· LA County Schools

· Trickbot’s use in ransomware attacks targeting everything from municipal and state governments to school districts and hospitals. Ryuk and another type of ransomware called Conti — also distributed via Trickbot — dominated attacks on the U.S. public sector in September.

· At least 41 hospitals and healthcare providers organizations reported being impacted by successful ransomware attacks during the first half of 2020, according to recent Emsisoft research. However, the rate of attacks is expected to increase due to the season and as employees return to the office.

· The end of 2019 saw some of the highest frequency of both ransomware attacks and successful incidents, with attacks on healthcare doubling from the numbers seen in 2018.

· Multiple providers reported being infected with ransomware on a frequent basis, especially during the last quarter of 2019. In fact, Q4 2019 saw a staggering 350 percent increase in ransomware attacks on healthcare providers.

· “Given that healthcare resources were already stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these incidents were especially concerning,” researchers wrote. “Between January and April 2020, the number of successful attacks on public sector entities decreased month-over-month as the COVID-19 crisis worsened.” “We are, however, seeing a reversal in that trend with the number of incidents now starting to increase,” they added. “This may be due to the lifting of restrictions and employees returning to the workplace or simply a normal season spike.”

Therefore, public sector security leaders must recognize that ransomware is no longer only an email issue, and properly protect themselves.

During this session, we’ll discuss what to look for and ways to get ahead, as well as what happens if Ransomware does hit, what is the impact.

Moderator: Leah McClean


1. Michael South, Americas Regional Leader for Public Sector Security & Compliance at AWS

2. Ritesh Agrawal, CEO at Airgap

3. Chase Cunningham, VP Principal Analyst at Forrester

4. Rafal Los, VP of Security Strategy at Lightstream

5. Stan Golubchik, CEO and Founder at ContraForce





Airgap Networks

Zero Trust Isolation — The Best Defense Against Ransomware Propagation.